Vail Valley: Bogart’s Gun Shop celebrates two years in business
Lots of people take their dog to work, but Jim Kelly brought his business to his dog.
Kelly owns Bogart’s Gun Shop in Eagle. Bogart, a great big Great Dane, owns Kelly. They’re celebrating their second anniversary this week, at the shop at 108 West Second Street in Eagle.
Kelly says both Bogart and the gun shop are doing fine.
“We’ve had some good local support and that’s been a great foundation,” he said.
It also helps that Bogart’s prices are competitive with anything in Denver or Grand Junction, Kelly said. He stocks almost everything, and if it’s not in the store he can get it, handguns in two days and long guns in three.
Instruction saves lives
Over his career, Kelly has been a photographer, contractor and a number of other occupations. So why guns?
“I’ve loved guns all my life and I’ve been around them since I was 9 years old,” he said. “I looked around and realized there was nothing local, and that I could fill a need doing something I love.”
Soon after he opened he saw the need for gun safety classes, so he started them almost immediately.
Their premise is simple: Handle your firearm safely – move away from trouble and not toward it. Let law enforcement professionals move toward the trouble. They’re trained for it.
It’s a theme that threads through all his classes, and it saves lives.
One of Kelly’s students was in the Sandbar that November night last year when Rossi Moreau allegedgly opened fire on an unarmed crowd, killing one and wounding four others.
A few days later, Kelly received an e-mail from one of those in the bar that night, thanking Kelly for the instruction and information he’d received two weeks earlier in one of Kelly’s handgun safety classes. He told Kelly it probably saved his life and helped save others.
“He had a plan,” Kelly said. “We tell everyone that no matter what happens, you need to keep your head, formulate a plan and follow it. He says he’s alive because he learned that, and that others are as well. I feel good that we’re providing a service to the community.”
Bogart’s still the star
Kelly also teaches classes for concealed handgun permits. People are calming down after the initial upheaval over President Obama’s election, when gun advocates feared further regulations on gun ownership, leading to some sort of outright ban.
About 30 percent of his students say they want a concealed carry permit for personal protection. Some want one because they travel in the backcountry.
“If it’s raining and they stick their handgun in their backpack, they’re breaking the law,” Kelly said. “They don’t want to do that.”
In advanced handgun classes, students learn to draw, to reload quickly and quietly, how to fire from behind cover, how to fire while moving, kneeling and sitting – all the real-life stuff.
“People practice at the range, firing at static paper targets, and that’s great,” Kelly said. “But if you need to defend yourself, you’ll need to know how.”
While the shop turns two this week, Bogart is 5 years old and he’s still the star, Kelly says.
“People still come in and ask where the big dog is. Sometimes they even bring their children” Kelly said. “He’s still the star of this show.”